Tuesday, July 30, 2013


There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.”– Mark Twain

* Bernie Becker tells us that it is business as usual in Congress in “Tax Reform in Senate? Not So Fast, Says Reid” at ON THE MONEY, The Hill’s Finance and Economy Blog.

The biggest obstacle to tax reform, or the passage of any important legislation, is the fact that the members of Congress are contentious, self-absorbed idiots who do not care about the proper administration of the country.  As long as the first priority of Congresscritters is partisanship nothing will ever get done.

And, of course, BO is not on board, reading from the Democratic Party script rather than demonstrating needed leadership.  

* BB also reports that “Senators' 'Blank Slate' Submissions Trickle Out”. 
And Kay Bell alliterately posts on the same topic in “Some Senators Shun Secrecy, Share Tax Reform Suggestions” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
I certainly hope that the committee does not take seriously the suggestion of Jay Rockefeller to “improve and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), refundable Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity education tax credit and the Retirement Saver's Credit”. 

The Retirement Saver’s Credit maybe, but the other credits – while the benefits may be appropriate and worth providing elsewhere more effectively - do not belong in the Tax Code. 

* Check out TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb’s first Podcast.

* Jersey senior homeowners screwed again.  “New Jersey's 'Senior Freeze' Tax Relief Program Leaves Some Out in the Cold” explains Christina Izzo of the Times of Trenton at NJ.COM.

The PTR applications indicate that $82,880 ($80,000 indexed) is the income limit, but each year (since 2008) when balancing the budget the legislature lowers the number to $70,000.  We are told (highlight is mine) “the law also allows the limit to rise as high $82,880 when the state budget allows.” 

Even though senior applicants who have income within the $82,880 limit, but over $70,000, do not get the reimbursement check this year, they should still complete and submit the PTR-1 or PTR-2 application to establish or maintain their “base year” – in case their income decreases in a future year, or if the cafones in Trenton allows the higher income limit to stand.

FYI - I have confirmed with a friend that the first wave of PTR checks have been sent out.

* In light of the recent royal birth Trish McIntire discusses “Saving for Education” at OUR TAXING TIMES -

No matter which university Prince George chooses to attend he won’t have to worry about paying for it. But so many American parents have the high costs of college to look forward to unless they plan ahead. It’s never too early to plan and save for future college expenses and the U.S. tax code gives parents some options.”

As usual, Trish has an excellent “bottom line” -

You don’t have to be royalty or rich to pay for college but it takes the will to save ahead. The earlier you begin to contribute to the plans, the larger the earnings and tax advantage.”

* The TAX FOUNDATION is issuing a series of case studies on “tax expenditures” which will “examine the growth effects if the deduction were repealed”.   First up is the “Mortgage Interest Deduction for Owner-Occupied Housing”.

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